Watermelon Quinoa Salad

This watermelon quinoa salad is simply an enhanced variation of one I ate a lot last summer. With watermelons finally selling for reasonable prices here in Southern California, I have returned to this refreshing combination of ingredients and tossed in a few more goodies.

Watermelon Quinoa Salad

Refreshing Watermelon Quinoa Salad

Overall, you’ll experience crunchiness, saltiness, sweetness, and tartness. I guess just the spiciness is missing from that list of taste sensations. Heck, you could add a splash of hot sauce to the dressing if you wanted to take this one step further.

One of the ingredients I tossed into this salad is homegrown sprouts. Recently, I crossed paths with a young gal selling homemade sprouts. My goodness they taste delicious! Sprouts are just seeds of various veggies that have begun to sprout. Very tender. Very nutty. Crunchy. Healthy as all heck. With a bag in the fridge, I tossed them into this watermelon mix. That took it to the next level of goodness.

If you can’t find tiny sprouts in the healthier markets near you, try bean sprouts. They are a lot bigger but I’m sure will suffice. Or, try making your own sprouts. I have my first batch sprouting right now, and if all goes well, I’ll share the process one of these days. In the meantime, check out the post at Little Birdie Secrets for directions. By the way, I found my packet of seeds for making sprouts at Whole Foods in the garden/seed section.

You’ll find me eating this particular salad for lunch in these beginning days now that I am back to teaching (today was the first full day with the students). Why is it that the start of school always coincides with the hottest days of the summer season?! At least I have this refreshing salad to keep me cool. I’m off to the kitchen now to toss together some of this salad for tomorrow’s lunch.

Watermelon Quinoa Salad

Watermelon Quinoa Salad

P.S. My other favorite back-to-school (that means back-to-work in teacher language) refresher for these hot days is cold brewed iced coffee. Please pardon the horrible picture on that post–gotta take a new one now that I can set up my pics a bit better.

Watermelon Quinoa Salad

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INGREDIENTS

Simple Dressing

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • pinch of salt (I prefer Himalayan pink salt)

Salad

  • 3/4 – 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 of a small watermelon, diced
  • 2-3 cups arugula (or spring mix or romaine)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup seed sprouts (these are tiny sprouts)
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp. sunflower seeds

DIRECTIONS

To Prepare Quinoa

  1. Measure out 1/4 cup dried quinoa. Place it in a mesh strainer and vigorously rinse it under cool running water for a couple of minutes. This will rid it of the outer coating that can cause a bitter taste otherwise. Drain.
  2. Place quinoa in a saucepan with 1/2 cup water and bring to a rolling boil. Lower heat to lowest setting, cover saucepan, and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. After 15 minutes, turn off heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes, then gently fluff with a fork.

Note: Basically, quinoa is cooked with a 1:2 ratio of seed:water and will triple in amount when cooked. I always make extra; it keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator.

To Prepare Dressing

  1. Combine oil, lemon juice, and pinch of salt. Mix well.

To Prepare Salad

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, diced watermelon, arugula, sprouts, and crumbled feta cheese. Add dressing and toss to mix.
  2. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and serve.

SOURCE: Maria’s original; quinoa directions adapted from The Kitchn

Quinoa Salad with Watermelon and Feta

Pardon my absence. I’ve been swamped the past couple weeks with canning the mega pounds of tomatoes from my garden (making salsa, tomato sauce, and tomato basil soup as well as canning whole tomatoes). I’ve also spent time preparing my classroom and lessons for the new school year. So sad to say goodbye to another summer…boo hoo.

But during all these busy days, I have managed to make one of my favorite summer dishes and finally take a picture of it for the blog. I’ve actually made this numerous times this summer but always devour it before I remember to snap a shot.

Please don’t be turned off by the unusual combination of ingredients in this dish. Truthfully, I don’t go for a lot of odd combos, but the day I saw this one, my mind was open to trying something new and different.

First of all, if you haven’t tried quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), put it on your list. It’s a tiny seed that expands a bit when cooked and has a slightly nutty taste. It’s kind of like a grain but really it’s in the seed category. It’s also highly nutritious from what I’ve read,  high in protein. I’ve enjoyed it all summer long in several recipes, often swapping it out for rice or other types of grains. By the way, I buy my quinoa from the bulk bins at Sprouts or Whole Foods–much more affordable that way.

Now, I wouldn’t think to mix watermelon with quinoa–or any other grain or seed for that matter. It just seems so odd. Nor would I think to mix feta cheese with watermelon. My basic food mind just doesn’t work like that. But it was a hot summer day when I saw the picture and the combo sounded healthy and refreshing. So I tried it. And not only did I like it, but I ended up loving this recipe.

You get a slightly nutty flavor and a soft chew from the quinoa. You get a refreshing crunch and light flavor from the watermelon. And my-oh-my, the slight saltiness of feta complements the crisp watermelon. Who knew?! Oh, and the parsley provides an earthy, lemony flavor. Yes, it’s a party going on with all these flavors, and it’s a party you don’t want to miss. I’m just sorry I haven’t found time to share this sooner, but at least I got it posted before watermelon season ends!

Quinoa Salad with Watermelon and Feta

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INGREDIENTS

Dressing

  • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion, such as vidalia (I leave this out)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I’ve also used flax oil)
  • salt and pepper

Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (start with 1/2 cup dried quinoa)
  • 1 1/2 cups watermelon, diced
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 3-4 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced (I’ve tried cilantro and basil but like parsley best)
  • lemon zest, to taste

DIRECTIONS

To Prepare Quinoa

  1. Measure out 1/2 cup dried quinoa. Place it in a mesh strainer and vigorously rinse it under cool running water for a couple of minutes. This will rid it of the outer coating that can cause a bitter taste otherwise. Drain.
  2. Place quinoa in a saucepan with 1 cup water and bring to a rolling boil. Lower heat to lowest setting, cover saucepan, and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. After 15 minutes, turn off heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes, then gently fluff with a fork.

Note: Basically, quinoa is cooked with a 1:2 ratio of seed:water and will triple in amount when cooked. I always make extra; it keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator.

To Prepare Dressing

  1. Combine vinegar, lemon juice, and onion in a small bowl or food processor. Mix well. Add olive oil and whisk well to emulsify the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Note: Zest the lemon first since you will need it for the salad.)

To Prepare Salad

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, diced watermelon, crumbled feta cheese, and minced parsley. Toss to mix.
  2. Add lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Drizzle with dressing and toss to mix. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

SOURCE: adapted from Annie’s Eats; quinoa directions adapted from The Kitchn

Ice Cream Sunday: Watermelon-Lemonade Sorbet

Two refreshing summer treats–watermelon and lemon–combined into one. And even better, they are combined into a sorbet for an extra refreshing frozen treat.

I must admit this sorbet has a slightly funky taste that I can’t quite put my finger on. I don’t know if it was the fruit combo, the corn syrup, or the lemon zest. Or it may have been the tartness of the lemon.

Nonetheless, I still enjoyed it and found myself returning for more as the days passed. It was particularly cooling as the recent heatwave enveloped the house, and as I finished off the final spoonful, I felt sad to see it disappear.

I spotted the recipe on Scoop Adventures, a blog site all about ice cream and well worth a visit if you are interested in tons of ice cream recipes. Lindsay, the writer of Scoop Adventures, gushed about the book from which she found it, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, which I have added to my ever-growing wish-list of books.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is a chain of shops in the Columbus, Ohio area that offers an array of artisanal ice cream blends using peak season ingredients. Since some of hubby’s family lives in Columbus, Ohio and we visit occasionally, I knew I would have the opportunity to try Jeni’s flavors one day. And sooner than later, for by the time this posts, I will be in Ohio blissfully spooning Jeni’s Splendid ice cream into my mouth! I’ll let you know all about it next time I post about ice cream.

Until then, give this recipe a whirl and let me know how you like it.

Watermelon-Lemonade Sorbet

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups watermelon purée (about 3-4 cups cubed watermelon)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon zest

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place watermelon in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  2. Combine sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Pour sugar syrup into bowl with watermelon puree and stir to combine.
  4. Pour sorbet base into a sturdy gallon Ziploc bag and seal tightly.
  5. Place the bag in an ice-water bath, place bath in refrigerator, and let stand until base is chilled, approximately 30 minutes (or chill base overnight in refrigerator).
  6. Once chilled, pour into ice-cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze in freezer until firm.

SOURCE: adapted from Scoop Adventures via Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home